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January 10, 2017
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Senate Republicans need only 50 votes to begin the process of dismantling the Affordable Care Act this week, but at least three GOP senators are publicly pushing back against the effort to repeal ObamaCare without a plan to replace it, and five GOP senators introduced an amendment Monday night to give Congress until March 3 to write legislation to repeal parts of the law. Under a budget resolution bill on which the Senate plans to vote Thursday, congressional committees have until Jan. 27 to write up the repeal plan.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who says he will unveil his own replacement proposal this week, has been leading the push to repeal and replace ObamaCare at the same time. He says that President-elect Donald Trump called him Friday evening to support Paul's strategy. "He called after seeing an interview that I had done [talking about] that we should vote on ObamaCare replacement at the same time," Paul told Politico on Monday. "I'd hate to characterize his opinion on it other than he agreed with me that we should do it that at the same time," he added. "There is momentum growing for it." He said he would vote for a standalone repeal bill if that was the only option.

Under the plans from GOP leaders, Republicans would repeal as much of ObamaCare as they can right away with a filibuster-proof budget maneuver, then come up with a replacement within three years. Any replacement measure would require at least 60 votes in the Senate, meaning eight Democrats would have to sign on. Then Trump would have to sign on. "I want to see the game plan in terms of how you actually enact replacement," Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) told CNN Monday. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate health committee, said "it's much more prudent to figure out where you're going to go from here, and attempt to do it all at the same time," adding, "People will see some of the flaws in just repealing only."

Trump has a love-hate relationship with CNN, so Republicans who want to influence policy may want to take a page from Rand Paul's playbook and make their case on a program Trump actually watches. Peter Weber

12:51 p.m. ET

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appeared on Fox News Sunday to talk trade war, Iran, and Friday's report that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has proposed ousting President Trump from office using the 25th Amendment.

"To the extent one wants to call this a trade war, we are determined to win it," Pompeo said of Trump's escalating tariffs on Chinese imports. He ignored a question from host Chris Wallace about how long the administration would maintain this course, repeating, "We're going to win it. We're going to get an outcome which forces China to behave" in accord with "fundamental principles of trade around the world, fairness, reciprocity."

Though Pompeo, like Trump, has cast U.S. tariffs as a punishment for poor behavior from Beijing, the cost of the taxes is absorbed by American consumers, not Chinese producers. China's trade surplus with the United States has hit record highs since Trump's tariff scheme began.

Turning to Iran, Pompeo pushed back on Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's angry response to Saturday's attack on an Iranian military parade. "When you have a security incident at home, blaming others is an enormous mistake," Pompeo argued, calling for Tehran to focus on domestic security "rather than causing insecurity around the world."

And he slammed those, allegedly including Rosenstein, who have considered undermining the Trump administration from within. "If you can't be on the team, if you're not supporting this mission," Pompeo charged, "maybe you've got something else to do."

Watch Pompeo's full interview below. Bonnie Kristian

10:55 a.m. ET

At least 44 people have died since Hurricane Florence made landfall in the Carolinas more than a week ago, and though the catastrophic rains have finally ceased, flooding continues to hit North Carolina especially hard.

As some rivers continue to rise, tens of thousands remain without power, and many roads are still submerged or covered in debris. "I know we sound redundant, but it bears repeating," tweeted South Carolina's emergency management department. "Turn around, don't drown!"

Floodwaters have receded from Interstate 40, leaving behind a glut of dead fish. See firefighters hosing fish off the blacktop below. Bonnie Kristian

10:24 a.m. ET

A new ad for Democrat David Brill, who is challenging Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) for his seat, features six people in diverse occupations arguing Gosar is "absolutely not working for his district." The twist: They're all Gosar's siblings, and they're encouraging Arizonans to vote their brother out of office.

Gosar responded on Twitter Saturday:

On a lighter note than linking his siblings to a genocidal dictator, Gosar joked he must be "Mom's favorite," as his mother supports his campaign. Thanksgiving is gonna be so awkward this year. Bonnie Kristian

10:17 a.m. ET
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The Trump administration on Saturday proposed a rule change that would make it more difficult for immigrants to receive visas and green cards if they are deemed likely to use public assistance programs.

"Under long-standing federal law, those seeking to immigrate to the United States must show they can support themselves financially," said Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen in a statement arguing the rule would "promote immigrant self-sufficiency and protect finite resources by ensuring that they are not likely to become burdens on American taxpayers."

The proposal will define a threshold for a total amount of assistance from programs like public housing and food stamps, and using assistance above that line will be "a heavily weighed negative factor" in the consideration of immigration status change applications, DHS said. The new rules could take effect before the end of the year.

Critics say the proposal is less about frugality than restricting immigration, and legal challenge is expected. "Today's announcement by the Trump administration is a backdoor, administrative end-run to substantially reduce legal immigration that, if implemented, will hurt our entire country," Todd Schulte of FWD.us told CNN. "This policy will cost the United States in the long run by limiting the contributions of hardworking immigrants who could become legal residents, and no one is better off because of it." Bonnie Kristian

8:34 a.m. ET

Social media users responded over the weekend to President Trump's tweeted claim that if Christine Ford's alleged assault by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh were "as bad as she says," she'd have reported it immediately.

Using the hashtag #WhyIDidntReport, launched by actress Alyssa Milano, survivors explained why they kept silent after suffering sexual abuse:

It is particularly difficult for sexual assault victims to report misconduct by those in positions of power, Laura Palumbo of the National Sexual Violence Resource Center told USA Today. And the assault is "not just something that affects their life in the short-term," Palumbo said. "It also affects their life in the long-term." Bonnie Kristian

8:13 a.m. ET
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"America is acting like a bully toward the rest of the world," Iranian President Hassan Rouhani charged Sunday in the aftermath of Saturday's attack on an Iranian military parade that left 25 people dead.

"But our people will resist, and the government is ready to confront America. We will overcome this situation," Rouhani continued, referring to U.S. sanctions on Iran, "and America will regret choosing the wrong path."

Rouhani linked the attack to the United States, arguing U.S.-allied Gulf states like Saudi Arabia support an Iranian separatist group, the Patriotic Arab Democratic Movement, and the Islamic State, both of which claimed the attack. "The small puppet countries in the region are backed by America, and the U.S. is provoking them and giving them the necessary capabilities," he said, including "financial, weaponry, and political needs."

Rouhani, who has been called the "diplomat sheikh," managed his country's side of negotiations in the Iran nuclear deal, from which President Trump withdrew the United States earlier this year. Bonnie Kristian

September 22, 2018
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A communications aide working with the Senate Judiciary Committee on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation process has resigned in connection to a past sexual harassment allegation, a committee representative confirmed Saturday.

The aide, Garrett Ventry, denied all "allegations of misconduct," but a committee statement said despite the denial "he decided to resign to avoid causing any distraction." Ventry was in a temporary position on leave of absence from a public relations company; he resigned from that role as well.

Politico reports, citing an unnamed source, that Ventry also resigned in 2017 from a role with North Carolina House Majority Leader John Bell for allegedly misrepresenting his work with the 2016 presidential campaign of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). Two former Rubio staffers told Politico Ventry was also accused of harassment while on the campaign. Ventry denied these allegations as well.

This comes as the committee grapples with the sexual assault allegation against Kavanaugh himself, a development that has stalled the confirmation. Bonnie Kristian

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